So, Mr Janadas Devan, 58, will join the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) as Chief of Government Communications starting from July 1, 2012.
He will be in charge of coordinating the Government’s public communication efforts and leading the ministry in enhancing its public communication network across the public sector.
On whether it is appropriate that Devan should be Chief of Government Communications while remaining Director of the Institute of Policy Studies, an issue raised by a prominent netizen, methinks the govt should be given two cheers for being very honest abt the role of IPS.
Makes it very, very clear that the IPS is reflecting in its analytical work the views of the PAP government: “No ambiguity here about non-partisanship, alternative perspectives” said a prominent activist on Facebook.
S’poreans have no need to be “second-guessing intentions behind IPS’s efforts to engage minds and exchange ideas”. Double confirm that IPS is another nation-building, constructive newsletter organisation, juz like ST where Devan was a senior editor before his latest appointment. Juz like STOMP has content providers, IPS has researchers.
(Related post on IPS: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/waz-this-institute-of-policy-studies/)
So we should thank the govt for being honest abt IPS.
And while at it, give yet another two cheers for yet more govt honesty: by taking someone so senior from ST’s editorial team, the government is showing that ST’s editorial stance will remain the same, despite the absence of Devan. He is juz a cog in the machine, nothing more: juz like dad was a wheel in the PAP, NTUC and then the presidency, replacable when worn-out.
As to what he should do first, maybe he should offer to teach ambassadors to be savvy when talking to the media, so as not to have be corrected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs . Let me explain.
When in mid-June, a M’sian website (which has a deserved reputation for false reporting, on par with netizens’ perceptions of STOMP here) alleged that S’porean diplomats took part in an illegal demonstration in April, the reported public comments of the S’pore ambassador (the previous director of IPS), surprised the diplomatic corps, analysts, observers, the govt and his staff.
According to a M’sian newspaper report, Three Singapore High Commission officials who attended the Bersih 3.0 rally did not go there to support the protesters, High Commissioner Ong Keng Yong said.
He explained that the three his deputy Ariel Tan and first secretaries (political) Regina Low and Philomena Aw went in their personal capacities and were not on any official assignment.
This was a most surprising response as there is nothing wrong in diplomats observing protests as part of their duties.
On 22 June, CNA reported on its website that Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Ministry (MFA) had said on 22 June that allegations about its officers interfering in Malaysia’s politics were “baseless”.
The MFA said its officers were at the Bersih 3.0 rally as impartial observers.
It added that as part of their normal professional diplomatic duties, officers were expected to be updated on the host country’s developments and to understand sentiments on the ground.
(Other publications and channels of our constructive, nation-building media had similar reports.
Now taz the response that the ambassador should have given publicly in the first place.Taz what he should have said to the Malaysian newspaper.
No damage was done because “Malaysian Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said Singapore and Malaysia had agreed that the respective ministries handle the matter pertaining to the illegal rally held on April 28” but it does not look good for S’pore’s image: an ambassador’s reported comments to a newspaper being contradicted by a public statement of the MFA.
Worse, what was he trying to hide or disown? If it was an “honest mistake” on his part, what does it say about his public communication skills.